By Kennedi Lurry (East Lansing, Michigan)
With only a 54% review rating from Rotten Tomatoes and 51% from Metacritic, it looks like Valerian is swinging either way with viewers. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets follow special ops Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) as they embark on a mission to Alpha, a metropolis composed of diverse species, given to them by the minister of defense (Herbie Hancock) in the 28th century.
Valerian and Laureline soon find out that the mission has been sabotaged by Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) to fulfill a quota that has been in the works for years. When watching Valerian, I could only help but think about how much it reminded me of a film from 2009. I’m sure a handful of us remember the film Avatar about the Na’vi tribe who lived on Pandora. We all anticipated a sequel and never got one (it looks like it’s in the works now). The underlying story of the film was that one man, Colonel Miles Quaritch, wanted to destroy the Hometree that the Na’vi tribe needed in order for their people to survive, for his own benefit but with the help of good people who value the lives of others, they are able to defeat him and save the Na’vi tribe. Valerian follows a similar story, however, instead of being on Pandora, they are now on Alpha.
It was hard to take Valerian seriously because the acting seemed to be a little sub-par and throughout the whole mission the two main characters Valerian and Laureline took many detours to get to the actual point of the film. With that being said, the film was about 2 hours and 30 minutes long but the actual defending of The Pearls (the inhabitants of Mül, fisherman who give back to their planet as much as they take from it) takes just around 30 minutes. Granted, there was a romance blooming between Valerian and Laureline to keep the story interesting and there were some funny aspects to the film like the Doghan Daguis, who travel in threes to reveal information by splitting their sentences into three parts. If one of them dies or goes missing the information is then meaningless.
These characters, although seen as a nuisance, provide comedic relief to the film. Their quirky look reminds this reviewer of Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars Saga) and they seem to pop up right when necessary. The film also features Rihanna as Bubble, a Glamopod who is a polymorphous extraterrestrial. Although she isn’t in the film very long, she adds a nice touch of sincerity as a character in search of her true self while also providing Valerian advice when it comes to women.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was good but not great. This film has attracted many different viewers, so to each their own. It has a great message behind it with a nice story between the main characters to allow viewers to love them a little more. What did you think of the film? Yay or nay?
Laureline: Home sweet home.
Laureline: [to Valerian] We get on just great. You flirt, I smile.